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My Big Brother….Morrison

April 8, 2010



Say cheese!!!

Redditch, England – I met a man with a ladder in Morrison’s car park…..

Exposing the truth behind the murky goings on in UK biking politics gives the Rider a great appetite, hence last afternoon I popped into a Morrison’s supermarket to stock up with food.

As I was popping out again I noticed a bloke up a ladder fitting up a couple, or four, CCTV cameras. Turns out he’s installing an automatic number plate reading system (ANPR) to enforce the two-hour parking limit in the store car park. He was happy to explain that miscreants would either be clamped, apparently the system can download info on the over stayers to the clamping team, or be sent a warning letter in the post, via a DVLA number plate search. Handy too for catching all those nocturnal boy racers and scooter geeks practicing, stoppies, burnouts and doughnuts on Mr Morrison’s hallowed tarmac.

Great so now I get my reg number checked in supermarket car parks, petrol stations and on the UK’s motorways and trunk roads. Of course I’m not alone if recent press reports are true the UK police are taking 14million photographs of vehicles every day. The images are stored on a huge “1984” database linked to ANPR technology that tracks vehicle movements. Apparently the records include details of car registrations and photographs of drivers and front-seat passengers and are held on a database for two years without the image ‘owners’ knowledge or permission.

According to the civil rights group, Liberty, the police are happily snapping away with no legislative basis. Bit of an intrusion into people’s movements then, somewhat disproportionate. Now where’s my copy of the Human Rights Act, ah yes page 86 ‘right to privacy’.

While over in Brussels the Association des Constructeurs Européens de Motocycles (ACEM) have launched their “Protective Equipment for Riders” booklet. This has the aim of encouraging a wider take-up of protective gear, particular in the southern European states, were personal protective equipment (PPE) often consists of an unbuckled helmet, t-shirt, shorts, flip-flops and a flashing smile. It’s called having fun on a motorcycle. Careful of the sub-text here. Perhaps ACEM are not satisfied with inflicting the 3rd Driving Directive upon us, could compulsory EU wide wearing of approved PPE be their next sales ploy, sorry road safety strategy.

No coincidence then that ACEM came up with this PPE awareness campaign just a few weeks before the 4th EU Road Safety Action Programme is rolled out on the 12th of May by the European Commission. That’s the programme that sets us up nicely for power limits, anti tampering etc etc. Could be your worst nightmare come true.

The UK General Election has been called for May 6, if you had not noticed. Elections can be a bit boring so to inject an element of fun into the biking end of things the BRR court jester has come up with a variation on the ‘Riders Are Voters’ Question Time events. Based on the Victorian parlour game ‘Consequences’ it goes like this. MCI’s Craig Carey-Clinch and MAGs Nich Brown met three prospective parliamentary candidates and a group of bikers at Fowlers Motorcycles Bristol. Craig outlined the usual stuff on mainstreaming motorcycles and Nich shuffled his papers. The consequences were, Craig got a new idea, Nich well Nich’s Nich and the prospective parliamentary candidates ticked the biking box and went home.

Sun’s out, bikes out. I’m off for spring time ride.

© Back Roads Rider 2010

8 Comments leave one →
  1. April 8, 2010 3:05 pm

    Meanwhile in the land of Ulster fries and potcheen, the big people have shuffled their papers and come up with a good idea – why not have Bikers R Voters for Northern Ireland?

    No MCIA, no ACU, no T-shirts, no cups – no knickers! Nada – niets – niente products to sell.

    Just loads of info on how to vote and what the whole thing’s all about.

  2. April 8, 2010 4:00 pm

    1984 …indeed. The only good thing about 1984, was petrol was cheaper then.

  3. Dave permalink
    April 9, 2010 8:40 am

    ANPR is a waste of time, my local Morrisions has them in the petrol station but they still make me take my crash helmet off because they can’t identify me with it on… despite it being of the flip front type so you can clearly see my face. Apparently chip and pin is a waste of time too because even if I pay at the pump I could have ‘easily’ got a fraudulent card and pin no. and stolen a bike all to get a few quids worth of fuel out of Mr Morrison (this was from the store manager…) so they want to see my face then too. I don’t go there anymore. If MAG or BMF want to make life better for riders can they deal with this type of crap please? Fighting the EU and the DSA is all well and good but sorting the day to day niggles out are what will really boost the membership…

    • Honda 90 permalink
      April 12, 2010 10:08 am

      So, did you write to Morrison’s complaining yourself? Did you write to your local paper? Are you a member of MAG/BMF? Do you talk to your local rep about working with them to do something?

      The reason MAG/BMF don’t do much on this level is because most riders can’t be bothered – they just don’t care enough to make an effort and do the boring lobbying stuff, either on an individual basis or by becoming a rep. This apathy will be what kills biking off bit by bit. We need more people who start Kill Spills or No to Bike Parking Tax to get us all off our arses!

      • Kawasaki gpz1100e permalink
        April 12, 2010 7:00 pm


        The reason MAG/BMF don’t do much on this level is because they can’t be bothered – they just don’t care enough to make an effort and do the boring lobbying stuff.

      • Dave permalink
        April 13, 2010 11:01 am

        Yea I did write to them, I was told it was for security reasons and it was company policy and they wouldn’t be changing it. When I discussed the issue in store with the manager several security guards appeared around me… I suggested they provide somewhere suitable for riders to put crash helmets rather than on the seat or the floor. I’ve not hear anything else. I was a MAG memeber, my local rep wasn’t interested. What really gets my goat is that I’ve seen chavs in hoodies and baseball caps use the same garage without being asked to reveal their faces. Apparently all motorcycle riders are potential criminals where as everyone else is given the benefit of the doubt. And don’t even bother mentioning religous head / face coverings. You get branded a racist.


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